Future is transhumanism is dystopia – new web-series H+

The other week J and I started watching the first 16 episodes of an excellent new sifi web-series called H+.

Logo for new web-series H+

An international movement that supports the transforming of the human body and thereby the human condition through advanced technologies. This movement is often abbreviated as H+.

Created by Brian Singer, the basic premises is that a new technology, an implant, has been developed that can connect the human nervous system to the Internet.  Of course, like all new technology in science fiction from Frankenstein to Terminator to Fringe something goes wrong.  Naturally, there is the predictable soulless corporate conspiracy, a rebel alliance of old-school hackers (I think?), medical experiments gone hideous and a surviving group of ordinary citizens who team up to fight the power and save humanity.  Yes, this little beauty has everything we love about dystopian technological science fiction thrillers, and 16 great little episodes in it is very, very well written! (The total number of episodes will be 48.)

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The pitter patter of tiny feet in combat boots – Rewatching Firefly’s War Stories and Trash

Tuesday night J and I watched War Stories and Trash.


War Stories

I almost wish I hadn’t watched War Stories, not because it isn’t a great episode, it is. It’s brilliant, but I really didn’t enjoy watching Mal and Wash being tortured, even though I understand what most of the scenes were trying to achieve for the story.  I did however enjoy watching Zoe being awesome and I love the development of Zoe and Wash’s relationship, the sort of thing you rarely ever see in television science fiction. I also love how the interaction between Kaylee and River is used to begin the unveiling of who River really is.  Oh yes, and the apple is a really interesting metaphor for the theme of the episode, especially as it very neatly draws River into the mix and nicely frames the whole thing within a religious questioning on the knowledge of evil.

“No power in the ‘verse can stop me”, River re-purposing Kaylee’s earlier statement (and in the process evoking the Biblical apple of knowledge of evil).

But, getting back to the torture …

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He looks better in red – Rewatching Firefly’s Ariel

Last Tuesday J and I watched Ariel. [We also started watching a new and potentially great webseries called H+ , but more on that in another post.]

Once, just once, I want things to go according to the gorram plan!

The best laid out plan … always goes wrong.

This episode is deceptively simple. Structured as a typical “bank, err I mean hospital job gone wrong” plot that Kaylee nicely sums up in one line, “Oh, well, let’s see. We killed Simon and River, stole a bunch of medicine, and now the Captain ‘n’ Zoe are off springing the others got snatched by the Feds!” The gang come up with a plan to rob an Alliance hospital because Simon wants to scan River’s brain while the others get on with a spot of harmless crime. Kaylee and Wash get to be awesome by rebuilding an ER chopper, which even it it does stretch the bounds of credibility is kinda fun to watch. The others get to be hysterical failing to learn lines of incomprehensible medical jargon.

But, of course as expected, the plan goes wrong …

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Internet Stalking – Jonathan McIntosh

Jonathan McIntosh describes himself as a “pop culture hacker and transformative storyteller”. What he does is make videos. Videos he describes as “political remix”.  Of all his work to date, Right Wing Radio Duck is my favourite. The video is made of hundreds of snippets of Donald Duck cartoons from the 30s and 40s spliced together with audio from  a modern radio show hosted by American right-wing DJ Glen Beck.  Right Wing Radio Duck tells the story of a hard-working Duck who loses his job in a depressed economy. As the increasingly despondent Duck struggles to make ends meet (including his mortgage payments) he starts listening to the Glen Beck radio show. The short film is poignant, funny and a biting political satire on American right-wing rhetoric.


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When my hate speech becomes your freedom to speak

Louisa Wall outside Parliament House before bringing her marriage amendment bill before the house

Last week, I watched the Parliamentary debate around the first reading of the Marriage Amendment Bill sponsored by Labour MP Louisa Wall; squeezed in-between bills to tighten up water discharge under the Resource Management Act and tweaks to minimum wage legislation.  Basically, Louisa’s bill involves rewording the current legislation on marriage so that it cannot be specifically used to exclude lesbian and gay couples from obtaining a marriage license.  (If you need a primer on same-sex marriage and legislation in New Zealand, it’s here.)

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Wanna keep breathing – Rewatching Firefly’s Out of Gas

Tuesday night J and I watched Out of Gas.  Catalyzer on the port compression coil blew …


This is how you do it television writing people. This is how you take a thin, clichéd plot line and write it interesting.  Provided the editor gets the screen transitions right and the colouring works in post-production, the plot devices themselves are actually quite simple.

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Nobody tosses a dwarf – Rewatching The Fellowship of the Ring (extended edition)

Tuesday, we took a break from Firefly to finish watching LOTR – The Fellowship of the Ring (extended edition), as we’d started rewatching it the other weekend. (Missed Firefly last week as J was out of town.)

It is hard to know what to say about these films that hasn’t already been said. One of the reasons for rewatching the films this year is in preparation for The Hobbit.  As I am very deliberately not reading the Hobbit until after I have seen the films, to create as little dissonance as possible, I have started reading The Lord of the Rings again.

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